The Interview Film Led to North Korea Hacking Sony Pictures

The fallout from the devastating cyber-attack on Sony Pictures two weeks ago continues with the Guardian of Peace (GOP) hackers warning the studio not to release The Interview, which they call "a movie of terrorism".

Long thought to be the reason behind the attack, The Interview is a comedy film which depicts a CIA plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un and stars James Franco and Seth Rogen.

The hackers who have claimed credit for the attack have posted a message on GitHub, which says:

We have already given our clear demand to the management team of Sony, however, they have refused to accept. It seems that you think everything will be well, if you find out the attacker, while no reacting to our demand. We are sending you our warning again. Do carry out our demand if you want to escape us. And, stop immediately showing the movie of terrorism which can break the regional peace and cause the War! You, Sony & FBI, cannot find us. We are perfect as much. The destiny of Sony is totally up to the wise reaction & measure of Sony.

The GOP also posted links to personal details of Sony Picture executives Amy Pascal and Steve Mosko and while the URLs did link to what appeared to be dumps of the executives' Outlook mailboxes, the webpages also hosted malware and scareware.

Shrouded in mystery

The hackers claim that a threatening email sent to Sony Pictures employees threatening their families was not sent by them though it adds that Sony should "wisely judge why such things are happening."

The origins of the attack still remain shrouded in mystery. Sony has called in the FBI and security experts Mandiant to investigate the sophisticated attack but they have yet to explicitly point the finger of blame.

Elsewhere North Korea is widely touted as the originator of the attack, having previously denounced The Interview as "a film abetting a terrorist act while hurting the dignity of the supreme leadership of the DPRK by taking advantage of the hostile policy of the US administration towards the DPRK."

North Korea has explicitly denied carrying out the attack though an official spokesperson called the cyber-attack "righteous":

"We do not know where in America the Sony Pictures is situated and for what wrongdoings it became the target of the attack nor we feel the need to know about it. The hacking into the Sony Pictures might be a righteous deed of the supporters and sympathisers with the DPRK in response to its appeal."

The hackers have previous released huge troves of sensitive financial and corporate data stolen in the attack as well as the financial and personal details of thousands of Sony Picture employees. They have also release five of Sony Pictures' films including the Brad Pitt film Fury and the yet-to-be-released remake of Annie onto illegal file-sharing websites.